North Carolina’s most unusual town names

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SEVEN DEVILS, N.C. (WBTW) – North Carolina is full of cities and towns with unique names – some more than others.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the strangest monikers for incorporated North Carolina areas. Honorable mentions go to Coats (which reaches just above freezing in the winter) and Grimesland. Goodbye, Earl though. You didn’t quite make the cut.

Here are 10 of the most unique town names in North Carolina, in alphabetical order:

  1. Bear Grass

Martin County

According to the county’s website, bear grass (sometimes stylized as “beargrass”) is a type of yucca found throughout the area. The town didn’t appear until after the Civil War, and initially only consisted of the congregation of the Bear Grass Primitive Baptist Church.

A post office opened in 1885…and then closed two years later. When the town was incorporated, a line was drawn in a circle, with a radius of 500 yards away from a white oak near a store. That circular boundary, which is fairly unusual among cities, still stands today.

  1. Cashiers

Jackson County

The municipality’s website boasts the luxury vacation town is “The heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.” It’s located on a high plateau, and has a temperate rainforest climate. 

It got its name from a boarding house and general store, which also sort of tripled as a bank. People used to say they were going to the “cashers,” and the spelling evolved to what it is now.

  1. Duck

Dare County

According to the Charlotte Observer, the town is named for…ducks. Yup, it’s that simple.

The fledgling municipality was established in 1984, and then incorporated in 2002, making it the newest town in the Outer Banks.

  1. Faith

Rowan County

Faith gots its name after a newspaper writer settled there and opened a quarry “on faith,” according to VisitAlisburyNC.com. The town, which has about 800 people, is known as having one of the largest Independence Day celebrations in the state.

  1. Fuquay-Varina

Wake County

How about two towns in one! 

This is a bit of a complicated story: The town was originally Piney Woods, then was renamed for a French Revolutionary War veteran named William Fuquay. Then, a Civil War soldier received letters signed with the pen name “Varina.” The soldier married his pen pal, and kept calling her Varina. 

Fuquay Springs was incorporated in 1909, joining Varina in 1963 as a single municipality. The area has two separate historic districts.

  1. Grandfather Village

Avery County

With available single-family home priced at $1 million, and rentals that go for $10,000 a week (according to the area’s website), you might have to trade your grandfather to get into Grandfather Village.

With a population of about 100, Grandfather Village is an incorporated village completely inside a fully gated community inside the Grandfather Golf and Country Club. 

  1. Kill Devil Hills

Dare County

Kill Devil Hills is located at the geographic center of the Outer Banks, according to Outerbanks.org. It’s the largest town by population in the area, at 7,500 residents, but is mostly known as the spot for the Wright Brothers’ first flight. 

There’s a few different stories about how the town got its name – and most of them have to do with alcohol. One tale claims that a really, really strong rum that could “kill the devil” either washed up on shore or was “liberated” from a shipwreck. There’s also the chance the liquor was moonshine.

An alternative story claims that the wind there gives “the devil a devil of a time.”

  1. Locust

Stanly and Cabarrus counties

No plagues here!

Located near Charlotte, the rural area’s heritage goes back to 1869, when it was known as “Crossroads.” People dug a well near a Locust tree at the time. As the only source of water, about 25 families would visit it daily to wash their clothes.

Eventually, the area got a post office. When it was time to name the town, a young girl saw the tree in full bloom, and proposed the name Locust Level. It kept that moniker before dropping the “Level” in 1894.

  1. Love Valley

Iredell County

Yee haw!

Love Valley is touted as the “Cowboy Capitol” and “a boy’s dream and a man’s reality.” The town is modeled after the wild wild west, with plenty of things to do, mainly involving horses.

It was built after Andy Barker constructed a one-room shack for his family in 1954, and was incorporated nine years later. He loved people, which is supposedly how the town got its name. 

It also touts another feat – a Love Valley man broke the record for the world’s strongest teeth in 1988.

  1. Seven Devils

Avery and Watauga counties

Seven Devils and Grandfather Village are practically neighbors! 

Seven Devils is about a mile high, with views of Grandfather Mountain. Like Kill Devil Hills, there’s some varying stories about how the resort town got its name, and all of them are probably true to some extent. 

Some say that Native Americans said that the winter wind sounded like “seven devils screaming in the night.” Another tale claims that it’s because there’s seven mountains in the area. Or, perhaps the most likely, the town was formed by seven men who were trying to be a little cheeky. 

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